Today in Parliament I raised with the Minister for Racing, Madeleine Ogilvie, serious allegations of live baiting continuing to occur as a training practice in the greyhound industry.
I also drew her attention to the avalanche of whistleblowers that have come forward since the three racing codes have come under the public eye. To a person, these brave people are petrified of retribution from participants and the authorities that are supposed to oversight a clean and humane industry, but are clearly failing and turning a blind eye.
The full text of my question is attached.
Her answer was utterly confusing. She suggested people come forward with concerns to an inquiry to be headed by Ray Murrihy, but as far as I am aware, Mr Murrihy is investigating team-racing, irregular betting and animal welfare in the harness code – has Ms Ogilvie just expanded that inquiry’s terms of reference whilst on her feet in the chamber?
In any event, she failed to say anything about what she would do about these allegations of disgusting live baiting. Presumably the perpetrators can just carry on.
And there was no acknowledgement from Ms Ogilvie about the fear of reprisals from anyone who comes forward.
My question is to the Minister for Racing.
Minister because the opposition parties and I continue to shine a light on the lack of integrity and animal welfare in the industry, we are getting bombarded with people coming forward wanting us to speak out on their behalf because they are too frightened to do so themselves or when they have tried it has fallen on deaf ears.
These are often people involved in the industry who are appalled at what is happening.
Minister I have had participants come forward to me to say that live baiting is continuing to occur in greyhound racing. One has detailed to me their personal involvement where they were tasked with purchasing live guinea pigs and rabbits from pet shops for bait. They also told me of how possums are trapped, their paws cut off and placed in hessian bags to be chased and killed.
Of course cutting the paws off and placing them in hessian bags is necessary because it reduces the risk that the dogs would be scratched or bitten which might alert racing stewards to their live baiting. This whistleblower is no longer involved in the industry but they are adamant that it continues and has raised concerns about the use of a bull-ring at a Colebrook property.
Another industry participant has confidentially and independently collaborated her concerns about the Colebrook property but is also too petrified to speak out because of retribution.
Minister, the industry is riddled with corruption, bullying, and animal cruelty under your watch.
How can these whistleblowers possibly present the evidence they have without fear of serious retribution when you continue to protect, back in, condone and even praise the actions of the very people they are making allegations against?